Every year the Office of University Mission & Ministry plans a spiritual event called Fall Revival. A time for all of NNU’s campus community to come together and take a break from their daily routine, Fall Revival is an instrumental part of the first semester and is anticipated every year.
The theme for Spiritual Life on campus this year is Around the Table: Discipleship and Diversity. Chaplains Dustin and Olivia Metcalf have been preaching on the Gospel of Luke throughout the semester, challenging students to make room for others at the table as Jesus did. This year’s Fall Revival was focused on that same theme of embracing diversity in order to better live as Christ’s disciples.
JR. Forasteros was the guest speaker for this year’s three-day revival. Podcaster, author and pastor from Dallas, Texas, JR. brought a much-needed sense of spiritual rejuvenation to students and faculty alike. Growing up feeling the love from his church community while also being exposed to the rejection of the sinners that Jesus loved, JR. became very passionate on the subject of diversity and loving all of God’s people. He challenged students this past week to take a look at the ways in which they were living and ask themselves whether they were bringing unity or uniformity to the Church.
One of the core values at NNU is community, so having a speaker emphasize the importance of embracing the diversity around us in order to be the community of Christ was a wonderful way to spend this year’s revival. JR. made a point of the significance of sharing a meal together, using Jesus’s example of eating with the tax collectors, sinners and outcasts of society. Students were challenged to consider the drastic benefits for the Kingdom that could result from simply sharing a meal, because as JR. shared, “Something beautiful happens when you share the table with people who are not like you; it’s hard to look down on someone when you eat with them.”
“JR. was an incredible speaker,” says freshman Courtney Ritchey. “I loved how real he was; how unafraid he was to be blunt and tell us that sometimes, we get it wrong. Jesus calls us to love the least of these, and sometimes that means going out of our way to reach someone unlike us. That’s uncomfortable; we don’t always like it, but that’s what we as Christians are called to do. It was a really important reminder that I think we all needed to hear.”
NNU was extremely blessed to have JR. come and speak about some very evident issues in the world today. Spiritual Life looks forward to continuing this conversation of unifying the Church and inviting everyone to the table throughout the rest of the year. God is doing some pretty exciting things here at NNU!